The Seahawks have lost five of their last six games, most recently falling by a score of 23-13 to a Cardinals team missing quarterback Kyler Murray and All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins. They're 3-7, leading only the 0-9-1 Lions in the NFC standings, and their first-round pick in 2022—currently slotted in the top five—belongs to the Jets.
If you look up the term "down bad," you'll find Seattle's team photo for the 2021 season adjacent to the definition.
It's over. From top to bottom, the organization has astronomically failed. There are now 10 games worth of data proving that the roster it built to "win now" is instead one of the worst in the NFL.
Figuring out a way to navigate a bleak future is all that should matter to the Seahawks now. That includes making use of the remaining seven games in this seemingly lost season.
There's no telling how things will go when the final whistle is blown in Week 18. Seattle will be granted mercy from this unmitigated disaster, but immediately step into another whirlwind of drama. Will Russell Wilson demand his way out of the Pacific Northwest? Or will Pete Carroll, lost for answers following Sunday's defeat, step away from the game he's been around since the late 1960s? Could both happen, or neither?
These are the questions currently swirling around the minds of Seahawks fans, those who cover the team and perhaps even some of the players and staff themselves. Uncertainty shrouds the "Emerald City," and it's easy to be sucked down the rabbit hole of hypotheticals.
So let's talk about something that doesn't require advanced-level mental gymnastics to understand: development. From this point forward, every player on Seattle's roster who's under contract through 2022 or beyond—and isn't a clear candidate to be cut—deserves priority. The team is only hurting itself by playing those who won't be around the next time meaningful football is played in the Pacific Northwest.
The lone exceptions to this are younger players who still make sense moving forward, assuming they have interest in returning. Safety Quandre Diggs and tight end Will Dissly, both scheduled to be unrestricted free agents in March, are prime examples.
One of the position groups the Seahawks could significantly overhaul is the offensive line, which has struggled mightily as of late. Left tackle Duane Brown, center Ethan Pocic and right tackle Brandon Shell are all set to hit free agency in the spring and have either contributed to the team's struggles, suffered injuries or both. This would be a great opportunity to see what 2021 sixth-round draft pick Stone Forsythe, waiver-wire pickup Dakoda Shepley and undrafted rookie free agent Jake Curhan can do.
Defensive end L.J. Collier, who's been a healthy scratch in all but three of Seattle's 10 games thus far, is another player deserving of more action—no matter the matchup. At the very least, the next seven weeks could help showcase his abilities to other teams and salvage some of his value ahead of a potential offseason trade.
Cornerback is a bit more tricky, especially after the unfortunate news of Tre Brown's patellar tendon injury. With Brown done for the year, Sidney Jones and an ailing D.J. Reed are projected to man the outside corner spots the rest of the way. But both will be UFAs, leaving the Seahawks with Blessuan Austin, John Reid and Nigel Warrior as the lone "controllable" pieces at the position.
Ideally, Seattle views Reed in the same category as Diggs and Dissly, in that it makes sense to retain him. Since moving back to the right side of the field in Week 4, he's allowed just 12 of 28 targets to be caught (42.8 completion percentage) for a meager 178 yards and no touchdowns.
Just because the Seahawks are potentially heading for a rebuild/reboot/whatever you want to call it, doesn't mean they should be in the business of losing good players. A standard has been set for the kind of product this team has to put forth on a yearly basis, and with $55 million in projected cap space and seven draft picks, the ability to field a competitive roster in 2022 is there.
But to die on the hill of delusion, thus sacrificing precious weeks of potential development and future data for the sake of hopelessly chasing a playoff berth that has already escaped their grasps, would be yet another example of bad process from the Seahawks' upper management.